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BERLIN -- Unbeaten and running roughshod over the competition, the Hiland High School girls basketball team has left many coaches watching in awe and scratching their heads at the end of the night. How does one beat the Hawks? Can they be beaten?
First-year Strasburg coach Patrick Mitchell received his indoctrination to the high-flying Hawks on Monday night.
The Hiland juggernaut continued to roll along with its 96-15 victory over the Tigers in an Inter-Valley Conference matchup at Hiland's Reese Center.
Morgan McMillen scored a game-high 23 points, and Sara Keim came off the bench to add 22 more for Hiland, now 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the IVC. The Hawks scored 90 points or more for the fourth time this season, and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 90-24.
"If there's a Div. IV team, or a Div. II or III team for that matter, that is better than Hiland I'd like to see it," said Mitchell, who took the Strasburg job this summer after spending six years as an assistant boys coach at his alma mater Waynedale. "They've played together for so long that they know where each other are on the floor at all times. We knew what we were getting into coming down here tonight, but until you get to see them up close for the first it's hard to imagine how good they really are. I'd say they're 30 points better than any other team in our league."
The Hawks made believers of everyone else in attendance on Monday, too.
Hiland raced out to a 31-0 lead after one quarter, led by McMillen's nine points and Keim's six. The Hawks canned 13 of 17 shots in the opening period, then drilled 11 of 14 attempts in the second stanza in building a 57-2 advantage at the break. Strasburg's Alyssa Sims scored the Tigers' first bucket with 2:21 remaining in the half.
"Regardless of what the score has been or the opponent we've played, our girls have done a great job of being unselfish this season and they were again tonight," Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said. "This is the best passing team I've ever had here (26 years), and almost all our baskets tonight came from an assist (30 on the game led by Kennedy Schlabach's seven). But, we've got to get back in the gym and have a good practice tomorrow. We have a tough stretch of games coming up."
Hiland led 81-7 after three quarters, then stretched the margin to 90-10, its largest lead of the night with 3:31 remaining.
"The strides we made from our Garaway game (a 60-point loss on Nov. 30) to tonight has been significant, despite the lopsided score," Mitchell said. "Half of our team are freshmen, with three more sophomores among our top 11 with no seniors. We want to build a program here, but it's going to take some time. We only have one game in the next two weeks, so we'll spend some time working on getting better and improving in practice."
Julie Schupbach led the Tigers (2-6, 0-4 IVC) with six points, while Angela Troyer chipped in with 13 for the Hawks with Schlabach adding 12 more.
Hiland outrebounded Strasburg 51-10, led by Troyer's 10 caroms.